Plant bulbs now so you can “stop and smell the flowers” later…
Awkwardly, people walked over my twins who were on the ground with their faces planted in the spring flower beds. The downtown sidewalks were filled with busy people heading to important places while my twins had stopped among the crowds to smell the flowers and to drink in every colorful bloom. The scene became a metaphor for me. I realized I am prone to put my crazy schedule, texts and emails ahead of stopping to “smell the flowers” with my children. I sometimes forget to enjoy their little hands in mine and to actually “be” with them. I knew that morning how delighted my girls would be next spring when their own blooms would peek through in our backyard.
Since the air has chilled, I had to make good on my decision to plant bulbs. The Fall is the perfect time to plant, but it is never easy to get out and do it. Finally, last week we grabbed our trowels, some fertilizer, a variety of spring bulbs and headed outside. We went to work weeding and clearing areas to plant. The children dug holes and unearthed worms, spiders and snails. They felt sad for those recently homeless insects and they seemed to have more fun building shelters from grass, twigs and leaves than they did helping their mom plant bulbs.
I’ve learned to allow my children to self direct their experiences and use their imaginations during our outdoor adventures. I had hoped to tell them the value of work and the process through which the bulbs would come out of dormancy through the winter chilling period and peek through in the spring. I had never expected it would turn into housing “poor squirmy wormies and snails”. The American Academy of Pediatrics says play promotes healthy child development and strong parent-child bonds http://m.pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/182.short. This has absolutely been true for our family.
I would say planting bulbs was a two thumbs up experience. It was relatively simple, we had exercised, we had been outside working and playing AND we saved homeless insects. All in a fall days planting!
Keep in mind: My children were a bit bummed to learn their flowers were going to take a long time to bloom (six months to a child is like 6 years in adult time) so remember to let your children know these are not instant gratification flowers but they will take time to bloom.